Virgin Festival Toronto Day 2 2009 Part 1Photos by Alex Ramon
Day 1 of Virgin Fest Toronto saw the Ronatron crew suffer the delightful weather and be harassed by the beautiful sounds coming from the Molson Amphitheatre. Day 2 started out much better, because com’on folks, who really likes the sun anyways? I believe if we had a poll, or survey of sorts, we’ll come to the conclusion that a cold, rainy day is preferred over a warm, sunny, picturesque environment. And because we live in a democratic society, Mother Nature was kind enough to give us what we all wanted. With the wind blowing and the clouds rolling, the day started off in what can only be described as shitty. Sitting in that Amphitheatre (if you don’t know they layout of this Amphitheatre, it’s basically an outdoor venue that is somewhat covered but not really) was like sitting in a freezing cold wind tunnel. With my privates the only thing keeping me warm (not that I was doing that…), music was my only comfort for the day. Watching all these bands in a cold environment is a tough thing, so I’ll cut day 2 in half so you all don’t get bored.
Even though the clouds were grey, there was this one little French singer-songwriter that brightened up the stage. Coeur De Pirate, also known as Beatrice Martin, walked out almost automatically to her little keyboard. She may have seemed shy at first, but as soon as she bellowed her nostalgic French tunes, people started to notice. It’s not everyday you get someone who was 3 months shy of being a 90’s baby up on such a ginormous stage. With such a great opportunity at such a young age, she didn’t take it for granted and thanked the crowd numerous times for coming out so early to catch her set.
Martin seduced the audience with her tender French voice and showed us all why music has no boundaries. Not even a little language barrier could stop people from grooving to her tunes. Accompanied by a big black cello, Martin sang with a soulful and rhythmic tone that warmed my heart (but not my hands). Her classical style, incorporated by her modern approach made for a very joyous set, as was evident when she ended with her own rendition of Rhianna’s “Umbrella,” which in my opinion was much better than the original (but then again I’m biased because I think the only good thing about Rhianna is her… well you get the idea).
All sporting matching red jumpsuits, Datarock, a Norwegian electro rock band (emphasis on the electro), jumped and pranced around on stage like a techno rave. Comprised of Fredrik Saroea and Ketil Mosnes, as well as some other people I don’t know (they have a long list of touring members, and I really don’t know who was who at that point), they played to a Virgin Fest crowd that was more than receptive.
This band had everything you could ask for, from head banging to cow bell fillers, all the while incorporating their synth elements to a rock and hillbilly flavour. These data rockers had great stage presence, and provided a very light atmosphere filled with happy, positive tunes. The crowd was really into it and appreciated this diverse band by clapping along in unison to various songs. At one point, keyboardist Saroea (or was it Mosnes?) got into the crowd and jumped along with the fans, and then later got back on stage and rocked out on the sax. My oh my, these boys sure are talented.
This Danish alternative rock band consists of Jonas Bjerre, Bo Madsen, and Silas Utke Graae. They had a very epic rock sound, with crescendos and decrescendos throughout each song and was very, how should I put this, interesting to watch. The entire band was energetic, except for the lead singer Jonas Bjerre, who just stood there with mic in hand/stand. Don’t get me wrong, I really like their music, but they didn’t put on the best show.
Regardless, my favourite track had to be “Introducing Palace Players.” Aside from the lackluster stage presence by frontman Bjerre, the song really resonated uniqueness. It had a very interesting intro, with several off beats, but later on in the verse when it was back on time, the song evolved into another level and was utterly amazing. All in all, Mew was one of the most musically pleasing bands at the festival, with their innovative and experimental sound, but one thing they could work on is to be a little less pretentious and a little more fun.
I can sense a little wavering from you readers, so on that note, I will end this article on a cold, yet warm note. As of that moment, Day 2 was cold on the outside, but warm on the inside (and when I say inside, I mean my ears), but trust me, it gets warmer and warmer as the day goes on (musically that is).